Steve Carell has replaced previously cast Zach Galifianakis as Steve Goldstein, founder of Garden State Equality, in the upcoming film Freeheld. The film is based on the 2007 Oscar-winning short documentary of the same name about Laurel Hester and Stacie Andree who fought to be allowed to extend Hester's pension benefits to her partner. Out actress Ellen Page will play Andree, while Julianne Moore will portray Hester.
Lieutenant Hester, a 23-year veteran of the Ocean County, NJ police force was diagnosed with terminal cancer and asked that her pension benefits be extended to her partner after she passed. At the time, police officers in the county were allowed to pass benefits over to their spouse, but same-sex couples were prohibited from doing so. The couple owned a house together and without her benefits, Andree would not be able to afford the mortgage.
Ocean County authorities first denied Hester’s appeal, but changed their minds after seeing a video plea taped from Hester's deathbed and announced the extension of pension benefits for registered domestic partners on January 18, 2006. Hester passed away a month later on February 18, 2006. Watch the documentary trailer below.